Movies almost always portray hacking as an illegal act, something you shouldn’t be participating in. But, what if you could get paid to hack? This is what an ethical hacker does, and you could become one too.
Ethical hackers are gaining more attention as they slowly become of the most in-demand cybersecurity roles. An ethical hacker is an information security expert whose overarching purpose is to evaluate the security of and identify any vulnerabilities in target systems, networks, or system infrastructure. They are often called by organizations to expose potential security weaknesses that malicious hackers could take advantage of, and are also considered cyber security professionals.
Ethical hackers do various things to help organizations, including finding vulnerabilities, demonstrating methods used by cybercriminals, and helping to prepare for a cyber attack. They evaluate a company’s systems and then report back to the leaders of the vulnerable areas within their software. Then organizations will take this information and make decisions on how to improve their cyber security. In addition, those who work with ethical hackers are better prepared for cyber attacks as ethical hackers understand how threats operate and will be able to react quickly to the changing nature of online threats. They are often hired by financial institutions, eCommerce marketplaces, data centers, different levels of government bodies, and entertainment or media providers and many more.
The required education to become an ethical hacker is to have a bachelor’s degree in a similar field. Most get degrees in computer science or information technology. After attaining your degree, and before you enter the workforce, ethical hackers usually get their certification, such as the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and other certifications for instance CompTia, so that they are fully prepared and experienced to work in the cyber security field. Using data from 2020, ethical hackers earn approximately $79,096 per year. The U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics also predicts that information security analysts, which include ethical hackers, can see a job increase by 31% from 2019-2029.
There are many skills ethical hackers should have to be the best at their job. It is common for them to have strong analytical skills as their work involves reviewing data to recognize any issues and irregularities with computer network security. It is also good for them to have clear communication and interpersonal skills. This is because ethical hackers will have to consult clients and explain their findings to managers or clients, in a manner that is understandable. Remarkable problem-solving skills and attention to detail are essential as the entire purpose of an ethical hacker revolves around reviewing systems and being able to point out vulnerabilities.
Ethical hackers are important figures in society, especially as the cyber world grows as we develop more complex technology. Without them, many organizations would be at high risk for data breaches and malicious hackers!
“Ethical Hacker: Job Description, Requirements & Salary.” Bestaccreditedcolleges.org, 20 Oct. 2021, www.bestaccreditedcolleges.org/articles/ethical-hacker-job-description-requirements-salary.html.
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Palic, James. “A Career in Ethical Hacking - What Does an Ethical Hacker Do?” ONLC, 16 June 2021, www.onlc.com/blog/top-ethical-hacking-jobs-and-career-paths/.